50 years ago today — July 16, 1969 — Apollo 11 was launched and human beings first stepped on the moon.  Let’s celebrate that occasion with the most famous song about space travel: David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, a song that exploits our fear and wonder of the final frontier. 

In lesser hands, this track could’ve been nothing more than a goofy, one-joke song for the Dr. Demento crowd, but the clever songwriting, brilliant production and a vocal performance that captures Bowie’s innate other-worldly, alienated style makes this track so much more than a novelty song.

“Space Oddity” (David Bowie) Copyright 1969 Onward Music Limited

Among the many high points in David Bowie’s catalog, “Station To Station” stands as one of his most epic compositions.  Written when Bowie’s life was at its most fractured point– having split with his longtime manager, suffering from cocaine psychosis and obsessed with the occult, “Station To Station” transcends the insanity to become one of his most monumental works.

This episode, we’re taking a deep dive into the live version of “Station To Station” from the 1978 Isolar II Tour, as captured on the Stage live album featuring brilliant guitar work from Adrian Belew.

David Bowie, circa 1976, drawing the Tree Of Life, a mystical
diagram referred to in “Station To Station”

Another overlooked song in the McCartney catalog, “Little Lamb Dragonfly” is an emotional piece, composed of 3 sections in different keys that effortlessly moves between each segment.  A wistful, haunting song about loss and the struggle to accept it.  How does this song affect you?  Let me know– write a review, post on Facebook, and share this episode with your friends.

“Little Lamb Dragonfly” (Paul & Linda McCartney) Copyright 1973 Administered by MPL Communications Limited

The Zombies only released 2 albums during their prime, so how did they get into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame?  Because one of those albums is a bona fide classic: Odessey and Oracle is widely considered to be one of the greatest albums of the ’60’s, holding its own against classics by The Beatles, the Stones, Velvet Underground, The Who… by virtually any measure, it’s an iconic album.  And it was a complete flop when it was first released, along with its first single, “Care Of Cell 44”.  But over time, it’s been recognized as a true masterpiece.  Let’s give The Zombies their due and take a deep dive into their orchestral pop magnum opus, “Care Of Cell 44.”

Here’s a link to the article I mention in the podcast:
https://www.buzzfeed.com/danielralston/the-true-story-of-the-fake-zombies-the-strangest-con-in-rock

It’s definitely worth checking out!

The Zombies – “Care Of Cell 44” (Rod Argent) Copyright 1967 Verulam Music Copmany Limited

Why this song?  Simple: because Thin Lizzy was as good as a 4-piece rock band could be and this song has everything you want in a rockin’ song– a killer guitar riff, a singable chorus, a great hook for the lyrics, and a perfect performance.  Written by Bob Seger, Thin Lizzy took it to another level and added some of their special sauce to make this song their own.  I truly love this song!  Let me know your thoughts — write a review, leave a comment, share with your friends.

“Rosalie” (Bob Seger) Copyright 1972 Gear Publishing Co.

This is the episode where I try to explain why I think Todd Rundgren’s “Cliché” is the most beautiful song ever written.  Of course it’s all subjective, but I don’t know how anyone could deny the beauty and emotional resonance of this song.  I probably can’t do it justice, but here’s my attempt anyway.

“Cliché” (Todd Rundgren) Copyright 1976 Warner Publishing Corp.

By the time Aerosmith recorded their 2nd album, they had refined their sound, improved their songwriting chops, and Steven Tyler had found his authentic voice.  “Seasons Of Wither” is one of the moodiest tracks Aerosmith ever committed to vinyl.  Still sounds every bit as great today.

“Seasons Of Wither” (Steven Tyler) Copyright 1977 Music Of Stage Three and Song & Dance

Welcome to 2019!  Let’s start the year off with one of the Greatest Rock Bands Of All Time. There is simply no other band like The Who.  Genius and violence, vulnerability and madness… all words that can be used in equal measure to describe The Who.  Four larger-than-life characters that created a dozen indelible classic albums; a band that recorded so much great music that a song like this was tossed aside, eventually released on a ramshackle album of leftovers & outtakes.  Most bands would give an arm & a leg for a song this good.

“The Naked Eye” (Peter Townshend) Copyright 1974 Fabulous Music Ltd/Towser Tunes Inc.

When the band released their first 2 albums in 1968 & 1969, they set off a musical revolution; the psychedelic sounds of the ’60’s were out and a return to the roots was back in style.  “Whispering Pines” is their most haunting, beautiful ballad, with a lead vocal from Richard Manuel that’s so vulnerable it makes you ache to hear it.  The Band were at their peak during this time, with every member writing & performing at their best.  Let me know what you think — write a review, leave a comment, and share with your friends!

“Whispering Pines” (R. Manuel and J.R. Robertson) Copyright 1970 Canaan Music, Inc.

One of the most underappreciated bands in rock.  Undaunted by the ups & downs of the fickle music business, Cheap Trick have played over 5000 shows and released 20 albums, including “Rockford” in 2006, one of their best albums ever.  I could’ve picked any song from this album– it’s that good– but I settled on “If It Takes A Lifetime”.  If you don’t have this album in your collection, don’t wait– Go get it now.

“If It Takes A Lifetime” (Robin Zander, Tom Petersson, Rick Neilsen, Bun E. Carlos & Julian Raymond) Copyright Z.P.N.&C./Sony/ATV (BMI) and Maxiva (ASCAP)